Sister Cities

A Nagaizumi-cho delegation visit the Japanese Tea House at Bason Botanic Gardens in Whanganui

Within our International Relations framework, our Sister City programme provides us with the platform to develop international friendships, leading to a mutually beneficial exchange of ideas and the development of social, cultural, economic and educational opportunities. 

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Nagaizumi-cho (Japan)

Whanganui and Nagaizumi-cho became sister cities in 1988. Nagaizumi was chosen due to its demographic similarities to Whanganui and rural nature, as well as the likely prospect of mutual benefits. There are now strong social, cultural and educational links between the two cities.

There have been a number of official visits, led by the Mayors of both cities. A Whanganui delegation attended the 30th anniversary celebrations of the sister city relationship in Nagaizumi-cho in 2018, and a delegation from Nagaizumi-cho had a reciprocal visit to Whanganui in January 2019.

Students from both cities regularly participate in school exchange visits.

Toowoomba (Queensland, Australia)

Toowoomba (Queensland, Australia)

In 1983 Whanganui formed a sister city relationship with Toowoomba.

Sister city visits between Whanganui and Toowoomba previously focused on gardens and flower festivals. Official activities have included attendance at the Carnival of Flowers in Toowoomba and more recently discussions have centred on trade and tourism opportunities.

In 2018 representatives from Toowoomba were in Whanganui and showed interest in several initiatives including Study Whanganui, Safer Whanganui and the digital strategy.

During 2019 representatives from Whanganui visited Toowoomba to explore opportunities for trade and economic growth.  In addition discussions have also centred on professional exchanges to provide learning opportunities around civil defence. 

Lijiang (Yunnan Province, China)

In 2014, Whanganui District Council established a relationship with Lijiang and in September 2015 a Memorandum of Friendly Co-Operation was signed by both mayors.

In February 2019  Mayor Hamish McDouall travelled to Lijiang to formally sign an agreement for a strategic relationship between Lijiang and Whanganui. Formalising the relationship is the first step in a commitment to identify and develop mutually beneficial economic, cultural and social outcomes with Lijiang.

Lijiang has more than 40 million tourist visits per year with many attractions including the Old Town of Lijiang (a UNESCO World Heritage site), a university for tourism with 18,000 students, a massive trading hub and access to the Mekong and Yangtze Rivers.

The focus will be on increasing tourism between both cities and the potential for educational exchanges.